- Class Number 5864
- Term Code 3160
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Topic Online
- Mode of Delivery Online
- AsPr John McCarthy
- AsPr John McCarthy
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 26/07/2021
- Class End Date 29/10/2021
- Census Date 14/09/2021
- Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
This course aims to:
- provide a comparative lens for understanding key issues and responses in agricultural policy.
- the means for understanding the challenges of agricultural reform in the context of agrarian politics.
Spikes in food prices and fears stirred up by a changing climate combining with increasing energy and water needs have heightened concerns regarding food security and the sustainability of agriculture in developing countries. At the same time the convergence of pressures on agriculture has affected the purchasing power and food availability for the poor. While spikes in food prices have led to social unrest in some places, commodity booms have led to rapid agrarian changes in other areas. In this heated climate critical policy debates have emerged regarding how agriculture might develop in a fashion that diminishes environmental and social inequalities and vulnerabilities and, under what conditions, specific policies and projects can support an agriculture-for development agenda that is more friendly to the poor and to the environment.
International policy approaches have sought to promote agricultural development while working to reduce the risks to vulnerable populations. For instance, there are initiatives to use legal tools to empower the poor, to develop private sector smallholder development models that contribute to poverty reduction, to develop corporate responsibility processes and agendas that rework value chains to ensure a more equitable distribution of benefits from agricultural development, and now there are new programs to support adaptation to risk from extreme climatic events.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Demonstrate competency with necessary theoretical and analytical tools required to analyze key policy problems facing the agricultural and rural sectors and the livelihoods of rural dwellers in the contemporary developing world.
- Practice professional skills using the key framework required for analyzing key agricultural and food security issues arising from a combination of economic, political, and natural processes.
- Debate key perspectives on food and agricultural policy
- Consider the potentialities and limits of selected widely promoted and replicated rural development policies.
- Discuss the implications of policies for different actors and institutions concerned with or affected by rural policy through the consideration of particular cases.
- Practice professional skills to present ideas clearly, and facilitate the learning of others.
This course is based on 20 years of research work related to topics of agrarian and environmental change, with a focus on livelihoods, non-agricultural economy, land grabbing, and so forth. It builds on my interest in analysing more broadly issues transforming rural society, such as the impact of climate change on rural livelihoods. Consequently, beyond a narrow focus on food security and the development of agriculture, this course also engages with a wider range of question converging on the livelihoods of rural population and question of poverty alleviation.
There is no set text. However, some key texts that you might consider buying for this course include:
Paarlberg, R. 2010. Food Politics. What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press.
Devereux, S., Vaitla, B. & Hauenstein-Swan, S. 2008. Seasons of Hunger: Fighting Cycles of Starvation among the World's Rural Poor. Pluto Press.
Young, E. M. 2012. Food and Development (Routledge Perspectives on Development)
Pinstrup-Andersen, P. and Wantson, D. D. 2011. Food Policy for Developing Countries. The Role of Government in Global, National, and Local Food Systems. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
Jennifer Clapp (2012) Food Polity Press, Malden
Ferguson, J (2015) Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution, Duke University Press
Bill Pritchard, Rodomiro Ortiz, Meera Shekar (2016) Routledge Handbook of Food and Nutrition Security Routledge (available as ebook from library)
Staff FeedbackStudents will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- Written comments
- Verbal comments
- Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups
Student FeedbackANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Week 1: Introduction: Food Security and Agriculture||In what ways has ‘globalized agriculture’ succeeded and failed? How is food security defined and how is it connected to agriculture and poverty? What is the big picture of global food security? What are the competing explanations and how might this shape how we understand and respond to the problem?|
|2||Week 2: Entitlements, Food Security and Food Sovereignty||Sen’s seminal work on famines shaped understandings of how food security and poverty are understood. What do we mean by entitlements? How does the theory work as a theory of causation? Does it offer an adequate framework for intervention? What are the implications for how we think about food security and poverty?|
|3||Week 3: Nutrition transitions and Precarity||How do livelihood, socio-economic changes and food system shifts lead to poor nutritional practices? What role does gender play in food and nutritional security? • What is precarity? How does the concept apply to the global south?|
|4||Week 4: Agrarian Transitions and Pathways out of Poverty||What do we mean by the 'agrarian transition' and ‘structural transformations’? Are the World Bank concepts of ‘pathways out of poverty’ useful given that agrarian change can work out in different ways? How then do rural development trajectories impact on rural livelihoods? Does the intensification of agriculture and increasing agricultural productivity coupled with migration necessarily led livelihoods to become divorced from farming and from the land? Or have so called processes of ‘deagrarianization’ deepened the agrarian problems currently confronting the livelihoods of smallholders and rural workers?|
|5||Week 5: Global Value Chains and Rural Development||What are global value chains and how can we analyse them? How has the organization and management of global agri-food supply chains been changing? What is driving such changes? How adequate is the value chain framework for understanding and intervening in ‘globalized’ agricultural processes? How well is the approach being used to pursue interventions?|
|6||Week 6: Land & Land Reforms||What is the relationships between tenure security and livelihoods? How successful are policies focused on creating ‘secure’ property rights (individual ownership), land registration and land titling? What complexities do we need to take into account when evaluating land registration, the formalization of land rights, redistributive reforms and market led land reform? How might problems of insecure tenure be best addressed?|
|7||Week 7: Farming out of Poverty: agribusiness & contract farming||What arguments do the advocates of commercialized small holder agriculture provide to support their model as the solution to poverty and food security? What role can agribusiness and contract farming play in reducing poverty and vulnerability? Are the arguments provided by advocates of this model supported?|
|8||Week 8: Food Security through the Non-agricultural Economy: Migration and Diversification||People diversify their livelihoods through wage labour, off farm employment, and by migrating in order to reduce their dependence on their own-production. What determines their ability to do this successfully? What are the key debates? How might we think about impacts and how might policy makers intervene?|
|9||Week 9: Food Security through Social Safety Nets: Conditional Cash Transfers||Why has social protection policy become a key means to deal with issues of poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion? What are the main approaches? What are the key issues raised? How well do SPPs address the problems of vulnerability and insecurity? What shapes their effectiveness?|
|10||Week 10: Climate change, food and agriculture||What are the implications of climate change for food security and agriculture? What are the key adaptive responses being considered by policy makers? Are they appropriate? Why or why not? What characteristics might appropriate responses have?|
|11||Week 11: Genetically Modified Food and its alternatives||What are the trends shaping the uptake of GM? What are the key issues in the GM debate? How might we best appraise these claims? What are the impacts on food security & livelihoods of key GM crops? Is it wise to use GM innovations to solve food security problems? Do the GM innovations deal with underlying problems in the world food system? What are the alternative proposals for assisting smallholders and the rural poor?|
|12||Week 12: Agro-ecology and regenerative agriculture||What is the regenerative and agro-ecology agenda for addressing the key problems in agri-food systems? Is this agenda feasible?|
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Reading responses||30 %||*||28/09/2021||1, 2, 3, 6|
|Survey of key concepts||60 %||01/09/2021||01/10/2021||1, 2, 6|
|Discussion paper||10 %||08/11/2021||02/12/2021||2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
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See activity 1 and 4.
No examination for this course
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 6
Students will be required to respond to simple question(s) for eight weeks (excluding their own seminar/reflective writing week) based on their readings. The response needs to submitted prior to the seminar. The activity is designed to ensure student participation and engagement with the readings prior to the Thursday or Friday seminar. Approximately 400-500 words.
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 6
Survey of key concepts
This is a 1200 word assignment.
The Survey of Critical Concepts aims to:
- develop your understanding of some of the critical concepts in one key area of the agri-food policy field;
- survey some of the key literature and to make evident your ability to comprehend critical arguments and communicate them clearly;
- develop your analytical skills and mastery of critical concepts prior to undertaking your Discussion Paper assignment.
Students are to undertake a critical overview of the major concepts in the literature for one of the topics from weeks 2-6 of the course. The survey will be based on your critique and analysis of three set readings for your chosen topic. Assessment dates above are indicative. Dates will be confirmed on wattle.
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
This assessment task is designed to increase your skills in researching and analysing agrarian and food security issues, and thinking through possible policy implications and options. The discussion papers are to focus on an aspect of agrarian and food policy or a case in a particular developing country context. You will address one of the second half of the semester’s topics. Length: 2000 words. Assessment dates above are indicative. Dates will be confirmed on wattle.
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- Agricultural policy and food security
- Resource rights, governance, and institutions with a focus on forestry, agriculture and land use
- Politics, policy and natural resource governance in a developing context
AsPr John McCarthy